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Collins to continue to lead on gambling reform

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have announced that Damian Collins will stay on as parliamentary under-secretary for tech and the digital economy, continuing to lead gambling and lotteries policy including the Gambling Act review.
UK general election

Collins was initially appointed on 8 July 2022, replacing Chris Philp, who left office during the month’s swathe of resignations protesting Boris Johnson’s continued leadership of the Conservative party.

His leadership comes in a period of flux for UK gambling policy. A review of the 2005 Gambling Act is currently underway, with a white paper widely expected to be released in the coming months.

Collins is the fourth minister to lead the review since it began – Philp took over from John Wittingdale, who himself replaced Nigel Huddleston. However, he is the first minister responsible for the review appointed during new prime minister Liz Truss’ premiership.

There are rumours that the new Truss-led government intends to completely abandon all efforts at gambling reform, as outlined in reports last week.

Besides the Gambling Act review, the lottery sector is also undergoing a shake-up, with the Gambling Commission announcing just days ago that the fourth National Lottery licence had been formally awarded to new applicant Allwyn. Allwyn succeeded the previous holder Camelot, which had held the licence since the lottery’s inception in 1994.

Commenting on the announcement, industry trade group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) tweeted: “Many congratulations to Damian Collins who continues his vital role at DCMS – this appointment is thoroughly deserved and we wish the minister every success.”

The chairman of the organisation, Michael Dugher, additionally tweeted a short message of congratulations.

Youth-orientated gambling harms charity the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) also tweeted: “Congratulations Damian Collins. We look forward to working with you in this important role.”

Collins will work under new secretary of state for DCMS Michelle Donelan. Before coming into that role, Donelan had long been a critic of the industry.

Since the 2010 general election Collins has been member of parliament for Folkestone and Hythe and chairs the joint committee on the draft online safety bill. From 2016-19 he also chaired the House of Commons DCMS select committee.

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